Cernak, Erik

NHL Preseason Game Night: 9-21-18 Lightning at Predators

Lightning youth shows up. Shows out.

TB-5
NSH-1

Louis Domingue allowed just 1 goal on 39 shots for the victory. Nice way to ease into the season.

First Period
7:18 TB Erne (1), (Volkov)
9:06 TB Erne (2), (Cirelli)
9:24 TB Katchouk (1), (Colton, Andreoff)

Second Period
8:34 NSH Josi (1), (Subban, Forsberg)(PP)
9:25 TB Andreoff (1), (Dumont)(SH)

Third Period
17:12 TB Masin (1), (unassisted)(EN)

Adam Erne and Andy Andreoff were the game's first and second stars.

After a pair of ultra flat games against Carolina to start the preseason, the Lightning youth roared to life tonight in the First Period against a veteran NHL'er-laden Predators lineup to get the 3-0 lead and never look back. Kudos to the Lightning after a performance so bad in Carolina, I didn't write a story about it (actually, a full and complete box score was never published with correct goaltender statistics, so there's that).

Mathieu Joseph was +2 with 2 penalty minutes and 5 shots in 16:49. He's having a pretty good preseason. Knocking on the door.

Slater Koekkoek was +5(!) with 1 hit and 2 blocked shots in 20:10 of duty. Dare we dream this is the year for Slater?

Cameron Gaunce had 3 shots in 21:11.

Boris Katchouk had a goal and was +1 with 2 shots and 2 hits in 14:48. Goals in back to back preseason tilts for Katchouk.

Taylor Raddysh had 1 hit in 16:08.

Kevin Lynch had 1:00 of ice time.

Matthew Spencer had 1 hit in 15:00.

Anthony Cirelli had a helper and was +1 with 2 shots and 1 blocked shot in 19:12 and he was 56% on 18 draws.

Erne had 2 goals and was +2 with 3 shots and 2 hits in 15:31. Annual reminder that Adam Erne has the goods athletically, and just needs to stay healthy.

Dominik Masin had a goal and was +1 with 2 penalty minutes, 3 shots, and 3 blocked shots in 15:43.

Alexander Volkov had a helper and was +2 with 1 hit in 17:18.

Erik Cernak had 2 penalty minutes, 1 shot, and 1 hit in 20:35.

Ross Colton had a helper and was +1 with 2 penalty minutes and 2 shots in 10:18. He was also 38% on 8 draws.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

Opinion: Lightning at the Halfway Mark

Forty games into a historic 2017-2018 season, let's take a moment to pause, step out of the moment, and take stock of where the club is. Sitting halfway through the campaign expectations for the team, which missed the postseason just a year ago, are sky high for good reason. Not only is the Lightning atop the NHL standings a full 13 points ahead of the pace they need to be in order to make the postseason, but the team leads a bevy of organizational and individual statistical categories.

Let's pump the breaks on prematurely planning a Stanley Cup championship parade, though. There's still half of the regular season and the postseason left to play, and as good as the team is, it's not without blemishes. How General Manager Steve Yzerman addresses those blemishes (or doesn't) and how any potential changes alters team chemistry (or doesn't) will have a lot to say about whether the team lives up to its perceived potential. So, with all of that in mind, let's look at how the team got here, what its weaknesses are, and what might happen next.

AHL Game Night: 12-9-17 Crunch at Senators

New Crunchning Death Star vaporizes Sens to run streak to nine.

SYR-6
BEL-0

Connor Ingram stopped all 18 shots he faced for the shutout victory, his first shutout as a pro.

First Period
9:01 SYR Volkov (5), (Lynch, Thomas)
14:37 SYR Stephens (4), (Volkov, Verhaeghe)

Second Period
7:35 SYR McBain (4), (Volkov, Peca)(PP)
15:05 SYR Stephens (5), (Masin)(SH)

Third Period
10:37 SYR Cirelli (6), (Erne, Joseph)(PP)
16:09 SYR Volkov (6), (Peca, Masin)

Alexander Volkov, Mitchell Stephens, and Ingram were the game's three stars.

Tonight you started to see the quality of the depth the Crunch have, prospect-wise, start to show. This isn't a team that has top scoring line NHL caliber skill on it, but everywhere you look there's a really high energy player who is a strong 200 foot player and plays a strong possession game. Cirelli and Joseph, in particular, had their way in the previous two games. Tonight was Volkov and Stephens' turn.

I'll also throw some love Dominik Masin's way tonight, as he had two assists and has been really good since joining the Crunch after some injuries nagged him in camp. He's formed a very solid pair with rookie Erik Cernak, and the mind wanders to thoughts of whether that may be a pair in the NHL in a couple of years time.

Syracuse is now 4 games over .500 and sits just 3 points back of Rochester for second in the North Division after the Americans dropped their game a shootout tonight.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 10-20-17 Devils at Crunch

The struggle continues.

BNG-3
SYR-2

Michael Leighton allowed 2 goals on 2 shots before being lifted quickly in the First Period. Connor Ingram allowed 1 goal on 20 shots for the injustice of the backdoor loss.

First Period
0:11 BNG Quenneville (4), (Bastian, Strait)
3:57 BNG Speers (1), (Pietila, Rooney)
11:49 BNG Lappin (4), (Erixon, Kapla)

Second Period
11:54 SYR Bournival (1), (unassisted)(SH)
13:26 SYR Cernak (2), (Bodie)(SH)

Third Period
NO SCORING

Michael Bournival and Erik Cernak were the game's second and third stars.

Syracuse sits alone in the North Division basement at a dismal 1-4-1-0. That said, they've only really been run off the rink in one of the losses (against the Penguins) and there's probably an alternate dimension where Syracuse could just as easily be 4-1-1-0. There's no such thing as moral victories, though, and Syracuse needs to figure out how to get on the right side of these 1 goal decisions quickly.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

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